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Lorenzo Cotula

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Lorenzo Cotula

Legal evolutions associated with economic globalization have highlighted the ever closer connection between the international legal arrangements governing the global economy on the one hand, and land and natural resources on the other. International investment law is at the heart of this connection, protecting and promoting foreign investments in the natural resource sector. Natural resource-related investor-state disputes have fuelled debates about the interface between investment promotion and regulatory space. This chapter assesses whether investment treaties unduly constrain regulatory space. It explores trends in the normative content of investment treaties, and mechanisms for control over treaty administration, interpretation and compliance. The findings suggest that investment treaties, even of the ‘recalibrated’ type, can have far-reaching implications for regulatory space, requiring careful thinking through. Ultimately, choices on the boundaries between investment promotion and regulatory space are eminently political, and a key challenge ahead is increasing democratic oversight in investment treaty-making. Key words: investment treaties, arbitration, regulatory space, sovereignty, politics

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Lorenzo Cotula